7 years ago this month, I finished my two-year church mission in Mexico City.
And man, that food has stuck with me.
You’re probably pretty familiar with Mexican food – spicy salsas, flavorful pork, tasty rice, MASSIVE tortas (sandwiches) for like $2.50. Everything has a rich flavor and usually a little kick to boot.
My two older brothers served their missions in Southern Mexico, and we still reminisce about food like old geezers recalling the good ol’ days.
And then there’s my poor little brother who served in Chile, the Bland Food Capital of the World (according to him). He told me horror stories of boiled meat and veggies with barely even salt and pepper and definitely no salsa. Or, flavorless broth with potatoes and chicken. Plus, he had giant sea rats to deal with.
I think he’s still a little resentful 😉
Anyway, when I think of Mexican food, like real south-of-the-border food, I think of 4 foods:
Tacos – just don’t add sour cream, tomatoes, or cheddar cheese to it. I’ll spend hours making authentic tacos for Erin, and she’ll Americanize it to the point of unrecognizability. I die a little inside.
Enchiladas – basically tortillas folded over, covered in green or red salsa and chicken, and then slathered with cream and onions. Holy cow I want some right now.
Milanesa – it’s almost always either a thin piece of chicken or beef that’s breaded and fried.
Chalupas – jk
And, last but not least,
Of course, there’s stuff like mole, carne adovada, carne asada, pozole, chile verde, and lots more. But it was those 4 amazing foods in the regular rotation. Kinda like our mushroom garlic chicken, sweet and sour chicken, and crock pot chili.
And of the 4, whenever a family asked what I wanted to eat, it was chiles rellenos I picked (well, after I figured out they didn’t know how to make spaghetti, I always asked for those).
It’s basically a stuffed, breaded pepper covered in a delicious tomato sauce. They’re not even spicy if you do them right – in fact, I’d sooner classify them as sweet.
And stuffed with what, you ask?
Some of the common stuffers are cheese, potatoes, chorizo, ground beef, and sometimes nuts and dried fruit.
Do you think our healthy chiles rellenos recipe sounds a little too different for you? Here’s why you should, or dare I say need, to try something new and make these immediately!
7 Reasons Why Making These Is The Best Thing Ever
- They’re unbelievably delicious – because we’d never give you a recipe if it wasn’t a healthy version of one of our family faves.
- You’re eating a gigantic pepper for dinner – eating big plates of veggies is virtually nonexistent in my life unless it’s a giant stuffed pepper.
- You’ll impress people – I’m pretty sure that stuffing something (especially something exotic like a pasilla pepper) and then pour a sauce over it is literally the definition of gourmet foods. One of the variations below (you’ll be able to figure out which one) even sounds and tastes extra fancy.
- It’s not terribly difficult to make healthy versions of this food – Mexicans use a lot of whole foods when cooking, like tomatoes, garlic, and onions instead of cans or dried stuff. They do like Canola oil and white flour, but our recipe here takes care of that.
- It’s different and foreign – I think it’s always a great idea to expand horizons, try new foods, and be exposed to different cultures. In Mexico, their impression of Americans is that we only eat burgers, hot dogs, and pizza. They’re not far off.
- You can play practical jokes on people – my poor mother (along with my dad and brother) came to pick me up when my two years were up. We visited one family I grew close with and they made us chiles rellenos. My mom, abhorring anything spicy, picked the very smallest pepper (despite our protests that they weren’t spicy). After a few bites of this itty-bitty pepper, my mom starts downing all her water, crying, fanning her face, and turning red. Confused, we all tried to convince her they weren’t spicy and she was crazy. Finally, I took a bite of her pepper… and it was the spiciest thing I’ve ever eaten. Turns out, the pepper was SOOOOO small the family couldn’t take the seeds out (the source of spiciness in peppers) and just fried the thing whole. Mom hasn’t tried one since. Leave the seeds in for enemies.
- If you want a less hands-on meal, you can skip the breading/frying part and throw them in the oven – It definitely loses some flavor, but it’s easier and cleaner.
Good. Next time you need a rich, flavorful, exotic meal, whip up a batch of these! Let us know which variation you’re going to try!